Saturday, May 12, 2012

Did Washington Post Downplay Poll's Support for Silver Line?

UntitledPolls show DC area residents support train, bus, biking and pedestrian projects much more than they support building new or wider highways. However, the Washington Post editorial board strongly supports new highways and spun a poll this week to mean that our fellow Virginians don't support the Silver Line. As Slate's Matt Yglesias points out, the numbers don't necessarily back up that spin:
But the really weird thing is that it's by no means clear that this is what the poll has found. What it says is that 32 percent of the population says the Silver Line project is "not at all important" while 32 percent deems it either "extremely" or "very" important and a further 32 percent says it's "somewhat" important. The "not important to most Virginians" interpretation is supported by lumping the "somewhat" and "not at all" categories together as "negative" responses. But the straightforward reading of the poll is that the median Virginian thinks the Silver Line project is somewhat important. And it is somewhat important! So why not just say that?
In the face of Republican political games, The New Republic's Alec MacGillis says strong support of the Silver Line can be a winner for Tim Kaine in his U.S. Senate race against George Allen.
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